Fantasy News Home
'Feasible' for Titans TE Delanie Walker to catch 80 passes
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 11:07am
Walker has publicly stated his desire to catch 80 passes in 2014 and is confident that a healthy Jake Locker can make that happen. He may well be on his way to the desired milestone after becoming the team’s first tight end to grab 60 passes in a season since Frank Wycheck in 2001.
Walker is excited to work with Whisenhunt, a former NFL tight end who understands how to get the most out of the position. In 2013, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates posted his best receiving numbers in four years (77 catches for 872 yards) with Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator. The combination of Whisenhunt’s tight end-friendly system and having Locker at 100 percent makes adding another 20 catches a feasible goal.
He was targeted much more heavily in games where Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center (6.8 vs. 4.2 T/G), but Jake Locker did throw three TDs to Walker while he was still the starter. From Week 10 to Week 15, Walker had the 6th-highest PPG (8.7), so he’s capable of playing at a TE1 level. Moreover, new HC Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Walker: "Working with Antonio Gates got me excited about the position, and I think there's a lot of elements to what Delanie does that are similar in that capacity.” This bodes well for Walker’s usage in Whisenhunt’s offense.
FREE 4for4 EMAIL SERVICE
Receive breaking news and fantasy analysis straight to your inbox.
Note: This service comes automatically with a paid subscription.
Previewing the Browns' QB competition
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 12:13pm
Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich...
I’m picking Brian Hoyer to win job, even though 11-of-16 quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2008 have started right away.
How long he’d keep it would depend on wins and losses, but I don’t think the leash would be long. For example, if the Browns start the season 0-3 after visiting the Steelers and hosting the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens, it would be convenient for Mike Pettine to promote Johnny Manziel during the Week 4 bye and have him ready to face the Tennessee Titans on the road Oct. 5.
But even if Hoyer becomes the starter and wins like he did last season, it wouldn’t necessarily preclude Manziel from playing as a rookie. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of OC Kyle Shanahan featuring Manziel in certain packages.
And remember, the backup always seems to find himself in the lineup in Cleveland. No Browns quarterback has started all 16 regular-season games since Tim Couch in 2001.
If Manziel wins the starting job this summer, he'll be an intriguing QB2 who should be available in the 10th-12th rounds given all the depth at quarterback. His rushing yards will drive his fantasy value, especially since the team is likely to be without Josh Gordon for most (if not all) of the season.
Julio Jones (foot) counting on 'cutting edge' procedure
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 12:00pm
The Falcons are counting on a cutting-edge medical procedure — a stem cell technique — to help heal wide receiver Julio Jones’ right foot and the rest of the league’s medical community is closely watching.
Despite having a second and bigger screw inserted into the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, Jones believes that he can continue his mercurial climb to elite status in the NFL in 2014. He reports for training camp Thursday with the veterans and may be available when the team takes the field for its first practice Friday.
“This break should heal with the treatment that they gave,” said Dr. Phillip Kwong, a foot and ankle surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. “It’s still tied to other factors involved in why it broke again. Sometimes, it maybe the way his foot structure is made. Like for instance, some people … tend to put more pressure out there on that fifth metatarsal rather than evenly across the foot.
“Sometimes the load goes more to one area. The fact that he has broken this twice, would suggest that there is something in his structure that puts more of a load on that fifth metatarsal.”
Medically, the fifth metatarsal is a problematic bone for doctors.
The article is the best accounting that we've seen of what's been going on with his foot. Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5. He's a risky pick, however.
RB James White to make 'early impact' for Patriots
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 11:42am
Patriots RB James White, the fourth-round pick from Wisconsin, shouldn’t be overlooked at running back. White had a solid spring minicamp "season", and his combination of production as a rusher and receiver appears to be an ideal fit for a Patriots offense that values a diverse skill set. We’ll define “early impact” this way: White will play more than 20 percent of the offensive snaps this season.
Rob Gronkowski (ACL) won't know his status until camp begins
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 11:35am
"I'm planning on playing the whole season this year," Gronkowski said Friday at a women's football clinic, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
"I don't know yet until I report, so I'll sit down with the coaches and training staff and we'll see," he said. "I'm just working with the trainers right now, improving every single day and whenever it starts up, whatever the trainers have, whatever the coaches have for me, whatever we feel comfortable with (we'll be) doing as much as possible every day that I can do."
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is a major concern heading into 2014. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, but don’t be surprised we don’t know his status until deep into August or even early September. This makes him a major risk in 2014 fantasy drafts. The ACL surgery was the eighth (known) surgery of his career.
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 11:31am
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano: "There's a role there for rookie fourth-round running back Andre Williams if he can take it. The Giants love to have a big, power running back who can grind out yards up the middle. No matter who the offensive coordinator is, that's going to be something Tom Coughlin wants. But they won't force Williams into playing time if he doesn't show he can handle some of the pass-protection responsibilities and maybe catch a ball or two. So while they like Williams and he was extremely productive in college last year, you shouldn't assume he's going to be a big factor in the run game right away. The Giants don't like to rush rookies, and everything I heard about Williams in spring practices indicated he needed a lot more work."
We believe Rashad Jennings will be the feature back as long as he's healthy.
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 11:29am
Beat writer Dan Graziano: "Odell Beckham was drafted to give the Giants the field-stretching threat that Hakeem Nicks did not provide last year, and the team believes he can outrun defensive backs and help open things up for Ben McAdoo's offense near the line of scrimmage. Of course, assuming they're right, Beckham can provide a big-play threat in his own right down the field. But their hope is that he has the speed to beat press coverage and stretch out defenses in a way that allows their offense to operate with a variety of quick-hitting options. I have my own concerns over how Beckham will react to big, physical cornerbacks, but there are plenty of people I talk to around the league who like him a lot and believe he'll contribute right away."
Ben Tate 'at least a slight favorite' to win RB1 job
Friday, July 18, 2014, 7:35pm
As one of the Browns’ priority free-agent signings and with four years of NFL experience as a solid backup with the Houston Texans, Ben Tate enters camp as at least a slight favorite to win the starting job. When he was first signed, Tate had every reason to assume he was a shoo-in to become the Browns’ No. 1 back because at the time there was no one approaching his talent level on the team. That dramatically changed when the Browns made Terrance West their third-round draft pick and added Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. West quickly emerged as a formidable challenger for the starting role.
Tate's stock has taken a big hit upon the arrival of West. This is a camp battle to watch. Whoever wins the job will likely have low-end RB2/RB3 value.
Sorting out the 49ers backfield
Friday, July 18, 2014, 7:28pm
The 49ers have good depth, and might finally start to use multiple running backs. Carlos Hyde was chosen in the second round of the draft, which provides a clear indication that they believe he is capable of eventually taking over for Frank Gore. Marcus Lattimore will get plenty of opportunities to prove he is back from a severe knee injury he sustained during his final season at South Carolina.
Coming off what both Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke described as an “A-plus-plus” season, Gore appears to be solid in his standing as the starter. After that, the depth chart will be sorted out through competition in training camp. Hyde and Lattimore will have to prove their worth in pass protection in order to take the backup job away from Kendall Hunter. If everyone remains healthy in training camp, the 49ers could look to trade a running back just before the final round of cuts.
The 31-year-old Frank Gore has defied reduced preseason expectations in recent years, finishing in the top 13 in three straight seasons. Including the playoffs, he posted just 8.5 fantasy points per game after the 49ers’ Week 9 bye in 2013, so the writing is on the wall. The team has a capable backup in Kendall Hunter and also drafted the talented Carlos Hyde in the second round. Along with the return of redshirt rookie Marcus Lattimore, Gore’s touches are very much under pressure in 2014.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:32pm
The Broncos kept five at the running back spot as recently as 2012, but this position shapes up to be a quality camp battle and last year’s rookie to make it -- C.J. Anderson -- could certainly hold off this year’s crop. It would certainly be a rarity to have two undrafted rookie running backs make the final 53, but Brennan Clay’s pass-catching ability is intriguing and the 225-pound Juwan Thompson would give the Broncos a bigger back with an understanding of pass protections to go with some special teams ability.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:23pm
I usually consider myself a voice of reason when it comes to predicting the level of impact any rookie can have in the NFL.
But even my practical, sensible side believes Cooks can become the Saints' first offensive rookie of the year in nearly three decades, joining Rueben Mayes (1986) and George Rogers (1981).
Cooks was the 20th pick in the draft, and no other offensive weapon landed in a better place to immediately showcase his skill set. Even if Cooks is only the third or fourth option in New Orleans' versatile offense, you know coach Sean Payton will find a way to create mismatches for him and quarterback Drew Brees will find a way to exploit them.
I'm not necessarily predicting blockbuster numbers for Cooks, since the Saints spread the ball around so much. But even if he catches something like 70 passes for 800 yards, he'll be doing it for a Super Bowl contender. And he's likely to hit a lot of "home runs" on a variety of screens, reverses, deep balls and punt returns.
The Saints spread the ball around, but not only do they have to replace the departed Lance Moore, the team has to also replace the production of Darren Sproles in the receiving game. The two combined for 143 targets in 2013, so while we're expecting Kenny Stills to see a larger role, there are targets for the speedy Cooks as well.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:08pm
Despite suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last October after he led the Browns to back-to-back wins, QB Brian Hoyer said he has been cleared to practice without limitations when training camp begins July 26.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:07pm
Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he wasn’t permitted to reveal when the hearing will take place with league officials, but admitted it would occur “in the near future.”
We're expecting a minimum of an eight-game ban, but Gordon's recent DUI arrest isn't encouraging.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:02pm
Friday, July 18, 2014, 12:42pm
There were all kinds of questions about Titans QB Jake Locker's future following another significant injury. Many questions linger. He looked rusty as he limped through workouts in May, but in June he looked significantly better, moving and throwing well. The Titans hope he picks up in July where he left off in June.
Locker has averaged 15.1 FP in 16 career starts. That extrapolates to 241 points over a 16-game season, or about what Ryan Tannehill scored as the #16 QB in 2013. Health has been his biggest problem, but if he can stay upright, he could grow in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.